Re: [betaNYC] Study: Internet erodes democratic protections

From: Noel Hidalgo | B.
Sent on: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 11:47 AM
How is this any different than what we had before the internet?

Noel 

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On 8 January 2014 at 11:42:29, Tom Lowenhaupt ([address removed]) wrote:

FYI
Study: Internet erodes democratic protections

Jan 07, Technology/Internet

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*Claims that the internet will "democratize" the global village are not  
supported by research published in the/International Journal of  
Electronic Governance/. Instead, non-democratic governments simply  
exploit the networks to spy on and control their citizens more  
effectively and efficiently than they did before.
http://m.phys.org/news/2014-01-internet-erodes-democratic.html
*

In a post-Snowden NSA revelation world, many pundits have suggested that  
the age of true democracy is upon us as social lobbyists, citizen  
advocates and others claw back the agenda from those who rule them. We  
have witnessed it seems revolution via Twitter and Facebook in many  
parts of the world, while information and telecommunications technology  
has given oppressed individuals and groups the power to gradually loosen  
their shackles. But, as Snowden's whistleblowing regarding the  
international eavesdropping carried out by the so-called most free of  
democracies, the United States of America, showed, even those nations in  
which it is the people that purportedly wield the power, nothing is  
quite as it seems.

Now, researcher Martin Karlsson of Örebro University in Sweden has  
trawled the data on e-participation the world over and found that the  
Internet rather than being the great democratizing "carrot" it is yet  
another stick with which authoritarian, and supposedly  
non-authoritarian, governments can beat their citizens  
<http://phys.org/tags/citizens/> into submission. Among the dozens of  
nations that lack a formal democratic voting system, availability of the  
internet to the populace, he says, is at best an inconvenience in the  
quest to control but more worryingly from the individual's point of view  
it provides the means to exact the opposite of democracy again and again  
from Egypt to Uzbekistan and from China to Saudi Arabia by way of Cuba,  
Ethiopia, Syria, Vietnam, Iran and many other authoritarian nations.

Moreover, Karlsson has found that the non-democratic nations make the  
internet not merely a stick but a double-edged sword, to mix a metaphor.  
They offer their citizens superficially free, uncensored access,  
although the simplest of unveilings generally reveals this to be a mere  
façade while at the same time using this access to monitor their  
citizens and to control behavior in the most insidious way.

"The most pressing question relating to the development of  
e-participation in the non-democratic world is not if the internet  
fosters democratization but rather how the democratic world will react  
to this dual strategy of internet governance characteristics of those  
non-democratic countries that engage in e-participation," says Karlsson.  
He is hopeful that ultimately the non-democratic nations will succumb to  
international pressure and to the urgency with which their oppressed  
citizens find alternative routes to otherwise censored information and  
blocked ICT tools.

*More information:* "Carrots and sticks: Internet governance in  
non-democratic regimes." Martin Karlsson. Int. J. of Electronic  
Governance, 2013 Vol.6, No.3, pp.179 - 186. DOI:  
[masked]/IJEG[masked] <http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJEG.2013.058405>

Provided by Inderscience Publishers

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